What does a man who designs and creates for the stars choose to have as the centrepiece of his living space? Well, you might think an expensive Eames chair or a large oil canvas by a contemporary master, but you’d be wrong. Well, not technically wrong, as there are canvasses by a number of very well-known artists and designers, but that’s a different story. What top fashion designer, Richard Nicoll chooses to sit at the very heart of his living room is a slightly battered but beautiful mauve-coloured traditional chesterfield sofa. And the reason for this is simply that he fell in love with the piece when he saw many years ago, and knew he had to have it: this is despite the fact that at the time it was too large to accommodate in his place. Instead the chesterfield settee lived at his friend’s house, artist, Anthony Campbell – well that explains some of the canvasses then. Fortunately the chesterfield sofa has now been re-united with its owner, and sits in pride of place in the living room of the London Georgian terrace he shares with Campbell.
Nicholl is what could rightly be described as a major player in the world of fashion, having designed for and dressed such musical luminaries as Björk and Kylie. After graduating from Central Saint Martins in 2002, Nicholl gained experience by working as a freelance consultant alongside the giants of the fashion world, Marc Jacobs and Louis Vuitton, as well as becoming the Creative Director of Womenswear at Cerruti. Since launching his own independent label in 2008, he’s been named the Best Young Designer at the Elle Style Awards in 2009 and was twice shortlisted for the BFC/ Vogue Designer Fashion Fund. So, all in all, you could safely say that he knows a thing or two about fashion and style.
It’s not surprising then, that he opted for a chesterfield sofa, after all, the iconic piece can sit happily in any space and blend in with even the most unusual decorative scheme. The living space at Nicholl’s Victoria Park terrace couldn’t exactly be described as ‘unusual’: the more apt word is probably eclectic. Hanging over the mantel of the Georgian marble fireplace is a large oil painting, entitled ‘self-improvement plan’. It’s a painting that features two almost identical-looking men, and was purchased by Nicholl’s mother back in the day. He says it reminds him of his father, a retired eye surgeon and world champion rower.
There’s also a vintage yellow chair bought from Bethnal Green Road and a number of Linda Sterling collages. However, the undoubted centrepiece of the room is the chesterfield sofa. It might not be the most extravagant piece that the designer could’ve chosen, but it’s tasteful and understated in a typically British way. As he said himself, he fell in love with it when he first saw it and just knew he had to own it. Having seen the chesterfield sofa, you know exactly what he means. We might not, as lay people, fully appreciate the world of high-end fashion, but we do understand and appreciate quality and craftsmanship when we see it. It’s satisfying to know that one of our top fashion designers can appreciate this too.